The UK has issued what Boris Johnson has called “the largest, most severe sanctions Russia has ever seen”, following previous sanctions from the UK that were not considered serious enough.

The beginning of this week saw the UK and US issue sanctions on Russian Banks and oligarchs. These sanctions were described as the ‘first tranche’.

The new sanctions which are listed on the UK government website include:

  • Further and more severe sanctions on Russian elites, companies and financial institutions. This is including over 100 companies and oligarchs.
  • Russian bank assets in UK to be completely frozen shutting off its banking system from UK finance markets
  • Tight restrictions on trade and export controls against Russia’s hi-tech and strategic industries
  • Russia’s national airline Aeroflot banned from landing in the UK

More sanctions are expected to follow, the harshest being cutting Russian access to SWIFT.

According to Bloomberg, SWIFT is a messaging system used by 11,000 financial institutions over 200 countries. It is used for sending secure messages concerning orders, payments, trades and currency exchanges. Many countries depend on SWIFT to pay for energy.

During the Crimean crisis in 2014, Russia was nearly denied access to SWIFT. The possible consequences would have been a 5% decrease in GDP.

Whilst many believe there should be SWIFT sanctions on Russia, the impact might also affect countries that rely on Russian energy.